Chevrolet Volt US Sales Slow In October As New Production Yet To Come Online

NOV 3 2014 BY JAY COLE 20

Not Doing Any Favors To 2015 Chevrolet Volt Sales Was A Flood Of Next Gen Information This Month, Including A Lighter, More Powerful Lithium Battery

Not Doing Any Favors To 2015 Chevrolet Volt Sales Was A Flood Of Next Gen Information This Month, Including A Lighter, More Powerful Lithium Battery

Before September, Chevrolet had improved month-over-month sales results with the Chevrolet Volt throughout 2014.  Unfortunately September was a big step back as the plug-in Chevy went from a year high 2,511 units sold down to just 1,394, off about 45%

The Chevrolet Volt's Hamtramck Facility Has Been Idled Since August

The Chevrolet Volt’s Hamtramck Facility Has Been Idled Since August

For October, the results did improve somewhat however, as 1,439 Volts were sold, which was up 3% from last month, but still off 29% from the 2,022 sold last year at this time.

For the year, 15,979  Volts have been sold, which is down 14.9% from the 18,782 sold through the first 10 months of 2013.

General Motors now faces a couple problems trying to finish out 2014 strong:

  • Production – the Volt’s Hamtramck, Michigan facility has been idled since mid-August as part of a previously announced $384 million dollar investment into the facility that is currently seeing the Voltec line being upgraded to handle both the next gen Volt as well as two other plug-in stablemates
  • Chevrolet Volt 2.0 – this month GM start its media-blitz/teaser promotion of the next Volt ahead of its January NAIAS debut.   While no pricing or specific figures were released yet, GM did foretell that the range extending engine would be a larger 1.5l engine, and that the next Volt would have a larger battery, enabling more range – our math points to a 50 mile AER when the car is released next fall.
Camouflaged 2016 Chevy Volt

Camouflaged 2016 Chevy Volt

Why are these two issues problematic to sales today? 

Although GM still has about 6,000 copies (and dwindling) of the Volt in dealer inventory around the country, it is now not ideally spread out across the country – and production won’t be resuming reportedly until the third week of November, so few depth problems will be solved by the factory until 2015.

The other issue being, why would a customer knowledgeable that the next generation of the Chevrolet Volt, which rides on a new platform, with a longer range, with faster acceleration, for less money…and out in less than a year, choose to buy a 2015 Volt today?

Only a lot of money on the hood and/or a very cheap lease likely restores the Volt to former sales glory now before the 2016 Volt arrives…both of which could easily happen, as GM has shown a willingness to cut pricing to move inventory.

Separately this month, Cadillac made a lot of waves, confirming that not only would a 2nd generation of the ELR be arriving, but also a plug-in CT6 in 2015 – high end luxury with 70 MPGe.

The ELR sold a respectable 152 copies in October, giving Caddy more than 1,000 sold for the year (1,037).

The take-away from all this?  GM’s plug-in sales are probably going to be fairly underwhelming for the next 8 months or so, but with 4 confirmed plug-ins (including the 200ish mile Sonic-based BEV) on the market in 2015, sales recap stories a year from now should be singing a very different tune.

 

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20 Comments on "Chevrolet Volt US Sales Slow In October As New Production Yet To Come Online"

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All I can say is this is prime time to buy that Volt that you had been putting off. It’s going to be deals-aplenty from here on out. Why gen.1 Volt is a BEST BUY: Volt is overbuilt. GM had to get it right with the Volt. Teardowns by engineers and backyard mechanics have shown how coddled this battery pack is. Where Nissan’s LEAF battery is on it’s own, and uses more of it’s capacity to do it’s job, GM has heated-cooled and kept a large buffer to insure battery degradation is not headline news. There is a lot of uncertainty still with gen II Volt. It’s hard to tell with all the cardboard and bubble wrap – but some angles of gen II Volt suggest a more Saturn-like look than the sporty, unique look v.1 has. Will gen II have 3-across seating in back? It’s looking iffy at best at this point. This sways back to getting a bargain with a gen 1. I believe GM did such a groundbreaking job with the Volt that it’s very much a gem sitting on dealer lots aplenty out there for now. It’s sell-off time, even for 2015s on lots now, so… Read more »

I think the new Volt will be a better car than Gen-1. But I also agree that it will only be marginally better and if the deals available on Gen-1 volts are good, there is probably no reason to wait for the Gen-2.

I bought a Gen 1 in October (after returning a lease in August), and all I can say is that news about Gen 2, while exciting, will not stop me from sleeping. Improvements appear solid and welcome, but not worth waiting a year.

Volt Gen-II is a feature set that appears to try to “reach forward” to those who didn’t have the time to appreciate Volt I. When a Volt I (2011-2015) can do a great job to help someone move from maybe 20-25mpg car to a new lifetime mpg of 80-100 or more – and they still don’t buy due to the EPA numbers such as “it only goes 38 miles on battery? Not for me!” (while their daily commute is 30 miles or some such number).

I truly want GM to put the new Voltec in a CUV. That is where it can shine. So many families want ways to get the family around without choosing a relatively small sedan. Love my Volt – but I know my wife loves her CUV and doesn’t care if it is ICE or EREV but if it was EREV, it would be extra cool. Come on GM – make the family nerdmobile – a Voltec-powered CUV.

James,

You are making a lot of valid points, but the joker in the pack – as has always been with the Volt – is the local dealers’ attitude.

Do they know they are supposed to give you a bargain because of all the above? Or perhaps they couldn’t care less (the usual correct answer for the past several years)?

Start looking in the 3rd week of the month, the closer to the end of the month, the more they care about adding +1 to their sales target, even if it’s a Volt.

If it wasn’t for GM themselves tearing dealers out of the “Volt Program” if they didn’t buy $10K in battery disassembly tools to stay in the program, dealers might be more on-board with the car.

Dealers don’t like getting kicked around to support something. They had to fork out a lot of money for the “Blue Arch” program to redecorate to GM’s specs for Chevy dealerships. GM paid for part of it, but not all. But Volt dealers who sold 2-3-4 units a year didn’t want to buy $10K in tools so they opted out. In terms of count – perhaps hundreds of them. They saw that the sales rate would be relatively low in their general suburban or rural areas where buyers preferred trucks or Cruze economy cars.

GM has to fix the dealership “Volt Program” or just have everyone buy from five to ten specific national dealers (Rydell, Keyes, and so on) who cater to Volt enthusiasts.

GM – please think through your decisions on whether you want all dealers selling the Volt or will continue with the status quo.

The joker is the dealer. Hmmm. I like that.

In my case, I bought the Volt 1.0 and love it. However, the dealer sales staff in Virginia where I bought it seemed to resent the Volt. They need sales people who understand and love the greatness of this car, and then they need to discount it!

We broke 70K Volts on the roads in the US. Maybe 100K at the end of 2015?

You might have to go to CA to find a non-redneck dealer who actually want’s to sell you one.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I’ve had nothing but good relations with my Austin area Chevy dealer (Covert), apart from some mixups early on with automated service mailings, which I chalk up to teething problems and not serious.

Jaguar F Type through Sept 2945 sales.
Cadillac ELR through Oct 1037 sales.

Respectable ?

Standard of the World?

Jaguar E-anything sales?

if there’s a point, I obviously missed it

Who is selling wild Amazonian cats to the public?

im thinking all the supply of new 2014 volts and new 2015 volts will be mostly long gone by summer.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

With $5k-$7k on the hood (or rolled into the lease)? That could be fun.

Frankly, my dad’s 2001 Impala is rusting in some very unpleasant (and possibly unsafe) places, and he does enough highway driving that getting better range-extended mileage would be worth waiting for.

The only thing I wish my Volt had (for long term longevity, don’t need it right now) is Android Auto/iOS Carplay integration. I understand Chevy is looking to cut costs, but with non-replaceable headunits and displays, you gotta keep the technology up to date. Here’s hoping the Volt 2.0 has it, otherwise it’ll be a big misstep.

The Volt costs $80,000 in Japan… Germany… Korea .. etc.
While we give them $7500 and more taxpayer money to dump their EVs here!
And no one says a word.

I agree. Let’s do the opposite: add a $7,500 import tax to all foreign EVs as they do to the Volt in their countries!

So how many of these 15,979 Volts were sold to individuals who spent their own money for them? And what sort of Government subsidies/incentives did they receive?